Guwahati: The Asian Confluence, a premier think-tank of the Northeast, organised a round table conference on "Connecting the Dots: Indo-Pacific and the Northeast" in Guwahati with the aim of exploring ways to enhance economic, trade, physical, digital, and cultural connections between the Northeast and the broader Indo-Pacific.

Asian Confluence is a think-tank institution headquartered in Shillong, Meghalaya, in North East India that works through research, training, advocacy, and exchange programmes towards creating a better understanding of the Eastern South Asian region in the larger framework of the Indo-Pacific region as a confluence of ideas and geographies.

The roundtable was a platform for the exchange of ideas between policymakers, thought leaders, scholars, experts, civil society representatives, and media professionals.

Major General Alok Deb (Retd), while speaking at the conference, highlighted the need to integrate connectivity with business to develop a secure north-eastern region.

Samudra Gupta Kashyap, Chancellor of Nagaland University, further emphasised that the development of the region should not be at the cost of ecology.

Meanwhile, Pradeep Taneja, Deputy Associate Dean, International Relations, Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne, deliberated on the security aspect of the Northeast and said that there is a need to focus on non-traditional security.

Associate Professor in International Relations at Deakin University, Australia, Costas Laoutides, stressed focusing on connectivity and social cohesion for maintaining regional stability for which continuous dialogue is vital.

The Chief Economist at the Chief Minister's Secretariat in the Assam government stressed that the state is planning to develop its own AI policy, which would help boost the state economy.

Earlier, during his welcome remarks, Sabyasachi Dutta, Executive Director of Asian Confluence, emphasised on strengthening the developmental partnership between India and its eastern neighbours.

The discussion was part of the 'scholar-in-residence' programme organised by Asian Confluence, Shillong.

The first phase of the programme was in Agartala, where scholars visited the Land Port at Akhura and engaged in a stimulating discussion with scholars from Tripura University on "Connectivity of the Bay of Bengal: Perspectives from the North East Region."

The second phase took place in Shillong, where the ICSSR NERC organised a round table on "History and Ecology of the Bay of Bengal: Perspectives from the North East Region."

During their time in Shillong, the scholars also visited various sites and interacted with the local community.

The event will conclude in the national capital, where the scholars will interact with professionals, academics, and policymakers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the region with the support of the Australian High Commission in India and the Australian Consulate-General in Kolkata.

Notably, this scholar-in-residence program aims to foster academic exchange and collaboration between scholars from Australia and researchers in India, also focusing on exploring Northeast India and the wider Bay of Bengal region.

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